Sunday, August 22, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr. tells us why the mosque must be built

by Stephanie J. Jones

Washington Post
August 21, 2010

Lost in the furor over the proposed Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero is a simple fact: The opposition to the center is the strongest argument in favor of it going right where it is planned. By most accounts, much of the opposition is based on an inaccurate conflation of Islam with terrorism, stemming from ignorance about the Muslim religion, culture and people. While troubling, this is hardly surprising in a nation in which a significant minority of Americans believe that our Christian president is Muslim (and so what if he were?).

Exiling the center to another part of Manhattan will expand and deepen the gulf between the Islamic community and its neighbors. The best way to bridge this gap is to help people understand that their trepidation is based not in reality but born of a myth that has been cruelly exploited. The Islamic cultural center can help span this chasm.